Saturday, September 10, 2005

Remaking Man in Marx's Image.

TV programs with a conservative bent on PBS are almost always consigned to Sunday afternoon. There they are likely neither to be seen by public television's predominantly leftish demographic, who would be enraged (and may withhold their $35 annual membership), nor viewed by rightish folk, who may want more. So it was with Heaven on Earth, a three-hour documentary on the history of socialism and communism. One the film's themes, and what certainly has been forgotten in the analysis of socialism's failings, is its inherent need to remake human behavior, expunging people of the intolerable condition of self-interest. In the case of British socialism, (of the Labour Party) this was accomplished by legislation to abolish capitalism and to create the welfare state; in the case of the Bolsheviks, mass murder was the vanguard's prescription for ridding humanity of such misfits. Four star television, available for purchase at the PBS store.
FEMA's Leadership.

FEMA is now receiving close scrutiny, and the qualifications of personnel that fill critical leadership positions. Here is a list of some of the people that fill these positions (from the FEMA website), and a yea or nea as to whether their professional background would be, in our opinion, adequate to emergency managment at such an important level. Keep in mind that this is not a measure of leadership ability.

  • Michael Brown, Undesecretary for Emergency Preparedness: Nea (politics)
  • James Rhode, Chief of Staff: Nea (politics)
  • Kenneth Burris, Jr., Acting Director of Ops: Yea (firefighting & EM)
  • Edward Buikema, Acting Director of Response: Yea (police & EM)
  • Daniel Craig, Director of Recovery Division: Nea (lobbyist)

Our conclusion is not as unanimous as that of the MSM: some critical positions are filled by people with inadequate resumes, others appeared to have strong experience in emergency management.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Data Recovery for the Katrina Disaster.

Don Singleton has assembled some of the pre-Katrina emergency management documents and plans. For those of you wanting a ground-floor understanding of the process, it's valuable material. Dead Drifts is not joining the blame game. It is just extremely important to know the initial conditions of this situation to competently judge whether officials will draw the right conclusions in after-action studies.

Meanwhile, if you haven't cut a check yet to help the people of the Gulf Coast out, get on it now.

Sunday, September 04, 2005